Recapping ROCK seminars on innovative city branding

Synthesis report now available

A distinctive feature of ROCK is considering the communication dimension as part of the integrated approach to cultural heritage-led urban development. For this, the project connects cultural heritage and innovative place branding. Seven advanced seminars were organized within the scope of the project with the aim to advance this approach. The report synthesising the seminar findings is now available (download).

The agenda of the seminars was conceived as an itinerary across the state of the art in this field, covering such key topics as city narratives and imageries, audience segmentation and mix of communications. The final seminar session was shaped as an exploration on how to make the most of heritage for branding and marketing the contemporary city, and how to tell stories that connect heritage to future-oriented issues – e.g. contemporary art and creative industries, entrepreneurship, innovative workplaces, technology, social innovation, etc. As an exercise in storytelling, it was then helpful to crowdsource the ROCK place branding toolkit.

The  ROCK seminars were organized in Vilnius, Cluj-Napoca, Bologna, Lisbon, Athens, Skopje and Torino, and an exhibition in Torino was jointly curated by Torino Urban Center Metropolitano and TASO. The seminars mobilized over 200 participants from around one hundred stakeholder entities. Participants were mostly senior officers involved in destination management and investment promotion, as well as their main stakeholders, Mayor´s cabinets staff, City Council units in charge of culture and heritage management, professionals in communication and design and visual arts.

The seminars proved to be useful:

  • to systematically explore a sound approach to place branding;
  • as an opportunity to discuss what’s going on in the host city and compare with international practices and trends;
  • to raise awareness on the instrumental role of place branding in urban regeneration (in the perspective of the target areas in the replicator cities);
  • to organize a discussion on cultural heritage as a driver to brand and market the contemporary city.

The ROCK advanced seminars on innovative city branding ran successfully thanks to the teamwork involving TASO as organisers, the host cities, ICLEI, EUROCITIES and other ROCK partners as invited contributors.

The report synthesising the findings of the seminars can be downloaded here:

Author: Rivas Miguel - TASO